Porn is the D-cupped, double-penetration-ready muse of popular music. Never mind the offstage comfort and inspiration that a legion of strippers, centerfolds and adult film stars have provided to a "Behind the Music" marathon's worth of rock and rap stars -- the XXX brigade has also lent its considerable assets to the videos, album covers and stage shows of hit makers like Blink 182 and Kid Rock.
But what, for all its trouble, has the porn industry received in return? Bupkis.
Order up the Spice channel sometime and you'll see the diligent men and women of adult entertainment humping valiantly away to the lamest music ever recorded -- chilly, A Flock of Seagulls-era synth beats and festive, Spanish game show-worthy jingles. But now, at last, someone is giving a little something back.
It took rapper Snoop Dogg to finally ask not what porn can do for him, but what he can do for pornography.
When Snoop announced a few weeks ago that he was teaming with Hustler magazine and hip-hop video director Michael Martin to release a series of X-rated titles, the enterprise seemed at once inevitable and surprising. Snoop, a man for whom the Parental Advisory sticker was invented, has never made a secret of his appreciation of "bomb-ass pussy."
But it's still a bold leap from a little rump-shaking in your videos to full-Monty money shots.
His first submission bears the what-you-see-is-what-you-get title of "Doggystyle." (This is a name with considerably more marquee value than say, "Up the Snoop Chute.") Volume 1 of the rap star's proposed multi-episode flesh opus is a hardcore contradiction -- at once a reminder of how clichéd both music and adult videos have become, and yet at the same time a ballsy, original reinterpretation of both. Other artists toy with safely PG-13-level salaciousness; Snoop, bless his smut-loving heart, warmly welcomes us into his Dogghouse for some genuine, honest-to-god freakiness.
The vice isn't limited to sex, either. "Doggystyle" opens with a disclaimer from Hustler about the video's "alleged use of marijuana," which is a bit like pointing out its alleged use of naked people. Never before have so many mellow, smiling faces been recorded blissfully puffing away in a film that didn't involve Cheech, Chong or the Grateful Dead. And none of their movies ever featured a sex scene involving a girl wearing nothing but a leafy green lei.
The premise of "Doggystyle," as Snoop explains it, is simple -- "making a party for the homey on his birthday." Maxing and relaxing in his easy chair like a hip-hop Hef, Snoop cheerfully promises the viewer some "bad, bad bitches." And he doesn't tease with "Temptation Island" nymphs; he delivers actual adult stars like India and Anna Malle writhing around Snoop's own home -- in the fake waterfall, on the pool table, in the recording studio, on the staircase. Snoop, meanwhile, casually strolls around the party, unconcerned about the stains his guests may be depositing on his fine leather furniture.
The action alternates between performance clips and hardcore sex, all to the persistent, expletive-peppered beat of Snoop's own raps. Interspersed at random are the video's most original segments -- plugs for Snoop's "Freak Line" phone sex service and a little fashion show for his new K-Nine clothing line. Clearly, the entrepreneurial Snoop is aiming to go large, Puff Daddy-style.
Well, except in one key area. You've probably seen this or that rock or rap "performance video." How strange that the ostensible star here refuses to perform himself -- the guy works the room without ever working his mojo. How uncharacteristically modest of him.
Snoop keeps his fly perpetually zipped, and doesn't even engage in any ass-grabbing, despite the abundant buffet of booty right there in his face. Snoop is a genial Mr. Roarke, more interested in his guests' pleasure than his own. He provides so many amenities his crew has to multitask -- they play Game Boy while they get blowjobs.
Despite the novelty of its hybridism, however, most of "Doggystyle" resembles either a typical "Total Request Live" clip taken a little too far or a rather standard adult flick with a fresher beat. The standard templates of both forms come heavily into play -- the music segments feature baggy-shirted rappers in mansion splendor, surrounded by acolytes who nod sagely and make the "what he said about the bitches" face. The only difference is that here the rump-shaking hos who surround them are nude, cavorting with degrees of enthusiasm ranging from happily uninhibited to aggressively self-fondling to just-about-to-pass-out languor.
The hardcore scenes, meanwhile, follow the formula written in stone in the porn bible -- girl-boy, girl-girl, threesome, yadda yadda yadda. All commit the cardinal sin of adult video -- going on and on longer than a Florida recount.
Only the soundtrack moves apace, even if it does present a challenge to the mood. Appalling as most porn scores are, they're at least not terribly distracting. Snoop and company's raps, however, demand attention. And while he may be a master of rhymes, Snoop's not exactly Barry White. "Doggystyle" has the jovial air of a pot-fogged weekend party, but that doesn't make it erotic. Just because the guests are getting it on to the strains of "Wash my clothes, you ho, clean up the kitchen, suck me dry, let's get high, and do the dishes," it doesn't mean the viewer might want to do likewise.
"Doggystyle" isn't particularly clever or artistic or even sexy. What it is, however, is undeniably dirty, which is really the whole point anyway. Smug, clean-cut little bastards like N'Sync may rule the charts, but Snoop's still got all the pot and the pussy. He's a bad boy in a sanitary, Making the Band world, a guy who chooses the outlaw allure of sex and drugs over Pepsi sponsorship or duets with Elton John.
"How about that? Snoop Dogg went porno," he declares with satisfaction as the festivities wind down, adding generously, "You know you're all welcome inside the Dogghouse any time you want."
The effort may win neither MTV nor AVN awards, but it's the nicest offer nastiness-deprived music fans have had in a dogg's age.